School is officially back in swing! The last two weeks at ROMS and ROHS have been filled with building relationships and discovering new experiences. Every step of the way, our students have demonstrated the IB Learner Profile traits as they embraced any challenge set before them.
ROMS started the year with Dawg Days lessons, a series of lessons all students partake in to learn valuable skills that they in and beyond school. Some lessons included learning about digital safety, how to access school digital resources, how to manage conflict, how to stay organized, etc. (For a full list of descriptions of all lessons by grade level, please click here). Many students took away many profound insights, such as one sixth grader who while discussing the Learner Profile trait of being a risk-taker noted, “Comfort is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”
Our 9th graders used several of these same skills as they transitioned to the high school this month, making new friends, trying new activities, and experiencing new environments. While many things are new for them, many remain the same. At their class meeting during the first week of school, we discussed the things they are familiar with that continue at ROHS, such as: using MYP rubrics for summative assessment feedback, using inquiry questions to guide their learning, and developing their Learner Profile traits.
While our 9th graders were getting familiar with ROHS, our sophomores were getting back into the swing of things with their personal projects. In the second week of school students met with their project supervisor during their seminar and reviewed their project topic and where they were in their project timeline. Based on this, Mr. McMann, Personal Project coordinator, and seminar teachers will be helping tailor support for students based on their individual needs. Mr. McMann also met with sophomore parents during Curriculum Night to discuss the project and its timeline for completion (For more information about the project, deadlines, etc., please see the RO MYP website and RO Personal Project website). Students are off to a great start, and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish this year.
Our students are not alone with trying new things and experiencing changes. This year our grade book is able to report achievement levels for MYP criterion. Many of our teachers, as a result, are working to report these levels through the grade book so parents and students can track their progress on each of them. Some teachers are reporting a letter grade and the MYP criterion for assessments, while others are starting to use a standards based grading approach, reporting only MYP criterion which will be translated to a letter grade at the end of the term (For more information about how this looks and how MYP marks work, please click here). Our students are constantly building their reflective abilities and growth mindsets as they work with the feedback communicated through these achievement levels.
This is just a taste of the many great things happening in our MYP grades, and there is more happening all the time. Like last year, to learn more about what is going on with MYP at each school, as well as to answer any questions, Coffee with the Coordinator (CWC) will start up again in October (For the list of dates, click here). Every other month the school hosting CWC rotates. This year, the time is also rotating to make it possible for more parents to attend. We look forward to seeing you there!
Every year I wait in anticipation for my favorite event of the school year - Personal Project exhibition night. It encapsulates the entire experience that students partake in and the concepts, skills, and understanding they develop during their five years of the Middle Years Programme. I have the pleasure of witnessing students' hard work and discoveries every day and love that I get to share that wonder and excitement with the whole community that night.
This past week our sophomores' project exhibition was during the high school open house. All of our students were full of smiles as they explained their projects to community members and discussed how they determined their project topic with eighth graders getting ready to make the transition to high school. For those students who had gone to Keller Elementary, their teachers were amazed at how they have grown as learners and built on the lessons they learned during their PYP exhibition. Overall the our students were amazing and should be proud of their accomplishments.
If you were unable to make it to the exhibition, please check out some of the projects our students worked on below.
One of the key components of being an IB student is service learning as action. By applying the skills, concepts, and knowledge students have learned in school to the world outside its doors, they are able to take principled action to serve their larger local and global communities.
With this in mind, I encourage ROMS and ROHS students and families to participate in the annual MLK Jr. Day of Service this January 15, 2018. It is an opportunity for all of us to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by taking part in what he championed - serving others and being the voice for those not heard. The service day is a collaboration between Berkley and Royal Oak schools, and this year will take place at Berkley High School. There are opportunities to volunteer both at the high school and at off-site locations. All service options remind us just how much we can do for our community when we come together. For more information about how you can sign up and/or support this day, please visit www.romi.gov/998/MLK-Service-Day.
It's almost time for winter break, and all our students are excited for the coming weeks. To keep their wonder and sense of inquiry fresh over the winter break, check out the TED Ed videos series. There are a number of topics spanning from "How Things Work" to "Superhero Science" to "Mysteries of Vernacular." There is something to engage any child and peak their interest. In the spirit of winter break, The Science of Snowflakes is linked below. Have a wonderful rest, embracing the learner profile trait of balance.
Our students' personal projects are in full swing here at Royal Oak High School. Many have finished their product or outcome, and others are working on finishing touches and writing their report. There are many opportunities to support our students as their wrap up their work.
Finally, remind students that they can come to the remaining Personal Project Planning days (P3) on December 13 and January 10. Mr. McMann, Ms. Belzyt, and Ms. Reimold work with students after school, answering any questions they have, helping them problem solve, and supporting them as they plan their next step or work on their report. P3 days are in the multi-media room (MMR) above the learning commons, and snacks are always provided.
It truly is exciting to see our students hard at work and nearing the end of their journey. Be sure to mark your calendars for the projects exhibition on February 15th during the Royal Oak High School open house.
The mission of Story Corps is "to preserve and share humanity's stories in order to build connections between people and create a more just and compassionate world." The goal of the group is to help bring people together to have a meaningful conversation and share our personal histories, developing understanding and preserving all voices. As students work more and more on becoming effective communicators and participate in our schools as caring and principled young adults, this opportunity to partake in learning more about family and community helps students see the value of those around them and how outside of school there is a rich "classroom" from which they can learn.
Teachers who are interested in helping their students participate in this experience can use the Teacher Toolkit created by Story Corps to help find a spot in their curriculum. For parents and family that would like to participate, they can check out the Story Corps app, which helps make the recording and structuring the conversation easier. The app does not share the story unless you want to, so it is a nice way to save conversations just for your family or if made public, with the wider world.
While students work on these outcomes in class, we also encourage students to take part in activities outside of class that focus on these action and service outcomes as well. One new opportunity to do just this is the World of 7 Billion student video contest. The contest is open to grades 6-12 around the world. Students create a short video that is solution-oriented regarding an issue connected to our growing world population: feeding 10 billion, preventing pollution, or advancing women and girls. More information about the contest and the sub-issues students might focus on is found on the contest's website, linked previously in this paragraph. Entries are due by February 22, 2018.
Ms. Belzyt is the MYP Coordinator for the Royal Oak Middle and High Schools, an IB educator, and life-long learner
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